New Testament - Organization


The New Testament consists of four classes of literature:

The books of the New Testament are not arranged in chronological order, but rather in terms of importance. The persons who gathered the books together (canon) were not interested in historical or chronological order, but rather the content.

Some of the letters in the New Testament are called the 'catholic epistles'. Catholic in this sense (as in the Apostles' Creed) refers to being universal in nature. The seven letters that make up the catholic epistles are:

The other letters (Paul's) are more specific in nature, usually written to specific congregations or persons.

The gospels can be divided into two types. Matthew, Mark and Luke are 'synoptic' meaning they give a synopsis of the life of Jesus Christ. They agree in most passages about the various events in the life of Christ. In fact it is easy to see a harmony amongst these books. There are however some differences which are interesting to study. The gospel of John on the other hand is arranged not chronologically, but in the order of ascending importance of signs and works by Jesus. In general, the gospels were written to different audiences, that is sometimes Jewish, some Greek, etc.. and the authors specifically emphasized areas of the gospel of interest to the audience.

There are 27 books in the New Testament. To find a specific book, some of the following tips may help:

If you have some other clever memory aids, send them in and we will add them to the list.
Mail to: BBasics@netministries.org